9 Creative Ways to Pass the Time in Airports

It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression, ‘As pretty as an airport.

Douglas Adams

Airports seem to have two default settings: soul-suckingly boring or OH MY GAWD I’M GOING TO MISS MY FLIGHT WE HAVE TO SPRINT LIKE WE’RE IN THE OLYMPICS. Neither are super appealing. Which leads me to my newest post. We could all use a few ways to pretend we don’t have to wait hours in a glass box to get on a metal tube for hours and leave said metal tube where we can finally enjoy our vacations.

Hopefully the options below help you pass the time. Some are obvious and others are a little different. Regardless of what you choose, make sure you have a great time!

Take a Walk

I know, I know. Not everyone likes being as active as me. Walking around airports to me helps pass the time and I love knowing that I was active before I’m about to sit for hours. I try to walk as many terminals as possible in the time that I have.

If you’re looking for somewhere to eat this is especially helpful since you can physically see what every place is offering and choose snacks/drinks/meals that you will genuinely enjoy versus the first place you came across. You can even make it competitive by challenging yourself to hit a certain number of steps or competing against a friend to get the most steps in before your flight.

Scavenger Hunt

Whether you create one yourself with absolutely outrageous items to find or normal ones, go for it solo or with your fellow travelers, scavenger hunts can be a game changer. They keep you focused on exploring, keep your brain occupied, and can take you all over the airport. Best of all? They can kill so much time. Get as creative as you want with this and focus on enjoying yourself instead of the time.

Photography Challenge

Airport photography is not something that really wows people unless you’re in one of the rare airports that are truly spectacular and are trying to impress and push the boundaries. Find interesting angles for ordinary objects or areas. Photograph your scavenger hunt items in funny or creative ways. Take a selfie with all of the artwork you find. There are so many ways to approach this, but do it in a way that will be fun for you. Plus, you’ll get the additional bonus of brushing up your photo skills before your trip begins.

Read a Good Book

No one should be surprised I put this on the list. I can lose myself for hours in a book. Make it more of an event by finding the coziest or most scenic spot you can. Nothing beats a cozy spot with a good view for some reading.

The past few years airports have made a conscious effort to become more people-friendly. (What a novel idea!….so much sarcasm). I’ve seen improvements like rocking chairs near take off areas, book nooks with little free libraries, and comfy chairs for lounging dotted across various airports. Take advantage of these little but free perks to make your airport time even better.

Window Shop

Airports are expensive and I avoid buying things other than food like the plague whenever I find myself in one. However, I window shop like a boss. I browse all of the books and magazines to make lists of books I’d like to read and get from my local library. I find out where has the best snacks. Duty-free perfume samples? Don’t mind if I do. Yes, I will absolutely love to look through those expensive scarves. Oh look, postcards! Have I been to all of these places? No, thanks for the suggestions and things I can research while I wait.

Long story short, you do you. Be extra. Explore all of the things.

Brush Up on Languages

Even if you aren’t going anywhere that requires you to speak another language, it’s a fun way to pass the time. It might not make hours pass by, but it can give you a quick break from boredom and keep your brain sharp!

Binge Watch Your Favorite Shows

Beat the system by downloading a few shows and movies from your streaming service so you don’t have to use the airport’s expensive wifi. You know how at home you start watching something and BOOM it’s somehow 11pm? Think of how that could positively transform your time in the airport. Goodbye waiting in boredom. Hello favorite shows.

Play Games

Again, download games for playing offline. Better yet, go analog. Bring a deck of cards or mini versions of board games. If it will make you happy and pass the time, why not bring that game? It could also be a fun way to spend an evening at your destination with friends/family.

Tastes of the Airport Food Tour

I saved my favorite idea for last. While the airport food options are not always appetizing, there are tons of airports with so many delicious-looking options. When you next find yourself in one of those airports (please don’t torture yourself with sub-par food tours), try a food tour.

You could get a small dish at several places to sample as many restaurants as possible. This is especially great if there are tons of options and you space it out over a few hours to prevent getting too full.

Another way to approach this is the progressive meal. Get an appetizer at one place, a main course at another, dessert at yet another, and top it off with a coffee at a final restaurant/coffee shop!

6 thoughts on “9 Creative Ways to Pass the Time in Airports

  1. have you been to the Singapore airport, which is officially the most beautiful airport in the world? with its waterfall, a massage and sleep areas, a butterfly area…:)


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